2007 01 31
Iran may be behind all evil in world
This piece in the NYT today is pretty irresponsible: Iran May Have Trained Attackers That Killed 5 American Soldiers, U.S. and Iraqis Say. Yes, indeed. It may have done so. But good golly the evidence for that right now is thin. The authors of the piece – two of them beavering away at the story! – are unable to come up with very much to support the theory. The idea seems to be that the attack was pretty sophisticated, and Iran is sophisticated. Just put two and two together! I think this is my favourite part:
The officials said the sophistication of the attack astonished investigators, who doubt that Iraqis could have carried it out on their own â€” one reason a connection to Iran is being closely examined. Officials cautioned that no firm conclusions had been drawn and did not reveal any direct evidence of a connection.
The last sentence gives everyone involved – from the officials to the reporters to the bloggers who pick it up and move the story along without the qualifications – a cover if it turns out to be nothing.
This isn’t just idle speculation. The Bush administration very much wants to broaden the confrontation with Iran. I’ve put my money on covert operations against Iran, but no actual bombing of the country. But the plan is to be much more aggressive in the future, and an important contribution to that effort is to convince the public that Iran is the source of all evil in the world. In that context, it’s not right for the NYT to amplify and transmit the administration’s messages about Iran’s evil, evil doings without having solid, independent reasons for thinking that they’re true. And putting in a weasel sentence admitting that the piece is a baseless speculation doesn’t really get them off the hook for doing it.
Howls of outrage (15)